I’m glad to be able to say that when I leave Main Street Church I’ll be going directly to another Interim call at a UCC church in a town a bit closer to home. The final confirmation and contract-signing came this afternoon. I’m sure the church will eventually have its very own blog "nickname," but for now let’s just say there is a rather frightening amount of shopping very close at hand, including a retailer closely associated in many minds with Vacationland. Think hunting boots, and you’ll know just where I mean.
People seem to be asking me a lot about when I will get my "own" church, as if I’m temp-ing now. I find myself in a funny place about it. Right now this feels like the most faithful thing to be doing, and there is definitely a connection with the people at the church I will be serving, and even with the church itself. Taken purely as a job, it seems like a good fit for my experience and skills, and on a personal level it feels like a good fit on the family front.
I often ask the question: How can this group of people be faithful to God in this time and place? And when I ask that question about myself, this feels like the answer, not the forever answer, and I’m not sure there really is one for any of us. Don’t we always need to ask the question, no matter what the terms of our agreements?
I continue to work with the Conference Minister on looking for the
right place for a new church start, and that will go on during this
next Interim. The need for new churches goes right along with a need to find new ways of doing and being church, and I feel sure the next year or so will be as important in my deepening understanding of these needs as the past fifteen months have been for building confidence in areas of ministry in which I benefited from the affirmation of Main Street Church.
So, I’ll be settled, but not in the sense of a "settled" pastorate, the type that is indefinite in length. The important thing at this stage of my life seems to be keeping the home life "settled," because I think when you have a happy 7th grader, it’s a high value to keep things the way they are. This position will be significantly closer to home, and that is no small thing at times when The Princess and I are the only people at home.
I’m grateful to God and to all the people involved in the process, grateful for the opportunity to do ministry and to be invited into the lives of people and a church in a time of vulnerability and questioning, of visioning and discerning. If my inner process mirrors that of the church the way it seemed to do this past year, I foresee good work for all of us, settled or not.
(And the Starbucks across the street? Had nothing to do with the decision. It’s just the mocha on the cake.)